How to Revive Lithium Ion Batteries

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Lithium-ion batteries , also known as Li-on batteries, are rechargeable batteries, making them a good choice for all types of electronic devices, from laptops to camcorders. The advantages of lithium-ion batteries over NiCad batteries and NiMH batteries are higher capacity, lower self discharge and a higher number of charge cycles before problems develop. Before you dispose of a lithium-ion battery that appears to have died, try bringing it back to life first.

  1. Read the Voltage

  2. Turn off the power source to the appliance containing your battery and remove the battery. Take a voltage reading with your voltmeter. Lithium-ion batteries may go into sleep mode if you drain the battery too much. For example if your battery is rated at 3.7 volts and the voltmeter only shows 1.5 V, it may be in sleep mode.

  3. Connect to an Appropriate Charger

  4. Some battery chargers and analyzers have a "wake up," "recovery" or "boost" feature designed to wake a sleeping battery. This isn't always successful, and you shouldn't attempt it with batteries that have been below 1.5 V for over a week, but sometimes it will revive the battery. Insert your battery, taking care to insert it in the correct polarity.

  5. Check the Battery After a Minute

  6. Take another voltage reading of the battery around a minute after being on "wake up," or alternatively check your charger's manual to see when the process should be complete. Remember that sometimes reviving a battery will not work, so you might just have to buy a new battery if this isn't successful.

  7. Charge and Discharge the Battery

  8. Return the battery into the lithium-ion charger and give it a full charge, which should take around 3 hours depending on what type of Li-ion battery you are reconditioning. Some chargers automatically progress from recovery mode to charging, so on these devices you can just leave the battery in place throughout. Next, discharge the Li-ion battery again in a device that is going to put a heavy load on the battery, like an LED flashlight.

  9. Freeze the Battery

  10. Seal the Li-ion battery in an airtight bag and put it in the freezer for about 24 hours, ensuring there is no moisture in the bag that could get the battery wet. When you take it out of the freezer, let it thaw for up to eight hours to restore it to room temperature.

  11. Charge the Battery

  12. Place the Li-ion battery in the charger and charge it fully. Hopefully, its performance will improve, it will take a charge again and last longer between charge cycles.

    Tips

    • To prolong the lifespan of your Li-ion battery, always store it at room temperature or colder.

      If you have a discharged Li-ion battery, charge it as soon as possible.

      Charge your Li-ion battery often (even if they aren’t fully discharged) to help improve its lifespan.

    Warnings

    • The electrolyte inside a Li-ion battery is flammable and the cell itself pressurized. Always wear safety glasses when working with batteries.

References

About the Author

Claire is a writer and editor with 18 years' experience. She writes about science and health for a range of digital publications, including Reader's Digest, HealthCentral, Vice and Zocdoc.

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